So far one EU country with a railway has been missing from my #CrossBorderRail project – Ireland. Because it only has a railway border to a non-EU Member State.

But this autumn I am finally putting that right! Ireland and France aim to make it possible to travel between the two countries, but the practicalities are far from simple. So I will be travelling from Brussels through France to Roscoff in Brittany, and then onto the ferry to Cork, with MEP Ciarán Cuffe from the Green Party (Ireland) – to document all of this. There will be events in Cork and Dublin, and I will also go to investigate the Ireland – Northern Ireland border, and ideas to re-activate a line between Strabane and Letterkenny (as mentioned in the All-Island Strategic Rail Review). I will depart from Rosslare on the ferry to Fishguard.

Ciarán Cuffe’s team made a video about the train and ferry trip to Ireland:

Later in September I will go and examine a number of borders Netherlands-Belgium, Poland-Czechia, Czechia-Slovakia and Austria-Slovakia I have not yet visited, and will even give a speech on board the Kulturzug between Berlin and Wrocław on 30th September. I will also be speaking at a variety of different events in Salzburg, Winterswijk and Wien, with more events in planning.

Then to complete the travels for the autumn I am making a massive journey first of all to Slovenia, and then all the way to Santiago de Compostela for the Interreg Annual Event. But simply going there would be rather dull, so I am taking the chance to investigate some more cross border railways en route.

As ever there will be formal events and informal gatherings en route. And you are most welcome to join me on board the trains, or for one of the bike legs. And if you want to simply say hello because you live somewhere I am passing that is super as well. Just contact me and let me know!


Borders crossed

To date I have travelled to and investigated 159 international rail lines as part of the #CrossBorderRail project. All of these are mapped here – pink pins are places I have been in this project, and orange pins are places I have been to previously. This autumn I will visit at least these additional 21 borders:

1000mm Euskotren – Irun Ficoba (ES) – Hendaye (FR)
1435mm Strasbourg Tramway – Kehl (DE) – Strasbourg (FR)
Baarle-Nassau Grens (NL) – Weelde (BE)
Berg NÖ (AT) – Bratislava-Petržalka (SK)
Bleiburg (AT) – Prevalje (SI)
Carrigans (IE) – Londonderry Foyle Road (UK)
Dalheim (DE) – Vlodrop (NL)
Dundalk (IE) – Newry (UK)
Fusine Laghi (IT) – Ratece-Planica (SI)
Rigonce (SI) – Harmica (HR)
Kittsee (AT) – Bratislava-Petržalka (SK)
Kudowa-Zdrój (PL) – Náchod-Beloves (CZ)
Lanaken (BE) – Maastricht (NL)
Lavamünd (AT) – Dravograd (SI)
Lifford (IE) – Strabane (UK)
Lubawka (PL) – Královec (CZ)
Marktschellenberg (DE) – Grödig (AT)
Maulde-Mortagne (FR) – Antoing (BE)
Mieroszów (PL) – Mezimestí (CZ)
Omeath (IE) – Newry Bridge Street (UK)
Porthall (IE) – Strabane (UK)
Rusovce (SK) – Rajka (HU)
San Elia (IT) – Hrpelje-Kozina (SI)
Strelná (CZ) – Strelenka (SK)
Tlumaczów (PL) – Otovice zastávka (CZ)
Vieux-Condé (FR) – Péruwelz (BE)
Vilar Formoso (PT) – Fuentes de Onoro (ES)
Villa Opicina (IT) – Repentabor (SI)
Villa Opicina (IT) – Sežana (SK)
Vlárský prusmyk (CZ) – Horné Srnie (SK)


Map and detailed plans

The route for Autumn 2023 is plotted on umap here – also showing border crossings and locations for events. All the bike routes are on Komoot here.

The full and detailed schedule is on Nextcloud here – this replaces my previous system using Google Sheets. And if in doubt the Nextcloud sheet will always be the one that is correct – before I update the website or the map.


Come along on a bike leg

I take a folding bicycle with me on #CrossBorderRail to allow me to explore infrastructure I would not be able to see or reach on trains or buses. All the bike routes for this autumn are listed on Komoot here, and you can tell when I am going to be starting each of them from the schedule here. Please do contact me in advance if you want to come along for a bike leg – so as I know to look out for you, and can message you if my arrival is disrupted.


Images used in this post

Martin Elsey
February 24, 2022
CC BY 2.0


August 12, 2014
Public Domain – CC0 1.0


Photo © Normen Schöne
Used with the permission of Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH


Past Events

18:00-20:00 – Wednesday 30th August – Bruxelles
Aloft Bruxelles Schuman (Ground floor bar area), Pl. Jean Rey, 1040 Bruxelles (Map)
Event type: informal | Live stream: no | Language: English | Signup: not necessary, but if you do I’ll inform you if the plan changes
Kicking off the autumn tour, come along for a beer and say hello. There will be a little quick presentation of the conclusions of my #CrossBorderRail work so far, but the emphasis is catching up with Brussels bubble decision makers to talk informally about railways.

16:00-17:30 – Saturday 2nd September – Cork

Grace O’Sullivan MEP Office, 12D Washington Street West, Cork, T12 NX77 (Map)
Event type: formal | Live stream: yes | Language: English | Signup: yes please
The first of two events with Ciarán Cuffe MEP – entitled “SailRail to Europe: Rail and ferry connections to the UK and EU, current challenges, future prospects“. Ciarán and I will report on our rail + ferry experiences from Roscoff to Cork, and look at European examples as to how to improve these sorts of connections.


18:00-20:00 – Monday 4th September – Dublin
Wynn’s Hotel, 35-39 Abbey Street Lower, North City, Dublin 1, D01 C9F8 (Map)
Event type: formal | Live stream: yes | Language: English | Signup: yes please
The first of two events with Ciarán Cuffe MEP. Ciarán and I will report on our rail + ferry experiences from Roscoff to Cork, and there will be discussion about the All-Island Strategic Rail Review too. And there will be a beer as well after the event.


Evening – Tuesday 5th September – Gorey or Wexford
Details of this one are still being worked on – information will be made available ASAP. Please do tell me if you would be interested using the signup form here.


08:00-10:00 – Friday 8th September – London
Benugo Espresso Bar, Upper Grand Terrace (i.e. beside the Eurostar platforms, west side), St Pancras Station, London N1C 4QP (details from the Benugo website – note the location at platform level!)
Event type: informal | Live stream: no | Language: English | Signup: not necessary, but if you do I’ll inform you if the plan changes
Call by for a breakfast coffee on the way to work, and chat about the problems facing Channel Tunnel traffic in particular, and #CrossBorderRail in general. My schedule daytime 7th September in London is quite flexible, so if you would like to meet that day to discuss something in particular then do let me know.


19:00-21:00 – Friday 15th September – Grävenwiesbach

Landgasthof zur Eisenbahn, Naunstädter Straße 14, 61279 Grävenwiesbach
Event type: formal | Live stream: no | Language: German | Signup: yes please
The focus here will be more national railway policy – especially before the Hessen Landtagswahl in October. There will also be a cycle ride to investigate the disused railway line between Albshausen and Brandoberndorf. Meeting point for the cycle ride is 14:45 at Albshausen railway station.


14:00-15:00 (note new time!) – Saturday 16th September – Wustermark
Bahnhofstraße 2, 14641 Wustermark, Germany (Map) – Bahnhof Elstal
Event type: formal | Live stream: probably | Language: English and German | Signup: yes please
Event in planning – together with European Sleeper and Allianz Pro Schiene. 16th September is Tag der Schiene and there will be a discussion about European rail policy at the end of the day. And a chance to see the old depot and some more modern rail technology at Wustermark near Berlin.


D: 16:15 – Wednesday 27th September – Salzburg and Freilassing
Meet on board the front carriage of the train in Salzburg Hbf or Freilassing
Event type: tour | Live stream: no | Language: English and German | Signup: not necessary, but if you do I’ll inform you if the plan changes. And you will need a train ticket, and possibly a bike!
This is a Salzburg-Freilassing-Berchtesgaden-Salzburg Tour – to investigate two cross border lines. And chat while en route. Meet in the front carriage of the train BRB RE5 (79036) that departs Salzburg Hbf 16:15 and arrives Freiassing 16:22. Depart Freilassing 16:39 on train BRB S4, arriving Berchtesgaden 17:28, also front carriage. Both of these trains accept Deutschlandticket. From Berchtesgaden either cycle 19km to Puch b.Hallein Urstein, and take the train S3 from there at 19:23, arriving Salzburg Hbf at 19:40, or take the bus 840 from Berchtesgaden direct to Salzburg Hbf, arriving 19:04. For those returning to Freilassing – depart Salzburg Hbf at 20:15, arrive Freilassing 20:22 (train BRB RE5 (79044)). You will need your own tickets for these trains and buses! The tour examines two cross border lines – the normally excellent Freilassing (DE) – Salzburg Taxham Europapark (AT), and the dismantled Marktschellenberg (DE) – Grödig (AT).


D: 08:05 – Saturday 30th September – Kulturzug from Berlin Ostkreuz
Meet on board the train
Event type: formal | Live stream: no | Language: English and German | Signup: not necessary, but if you do I’ll inform you if the plan changes. And you will need a train ticket!
You can find out more about this one – where I will give a speech on board the Kulturzug Berlin Ostkreuz – Wrocław Główny – in this separate article. You can board the train at Berlin-Lichtenberg D. 7.59, Berlin Ostkreuz D. 8.05 or Cottbus Hbf D. 9.32, and you will need your own ticket for the Kulturzug. Tickets available here. The train trip lasts 4 hours, and there will be ample time for plenty of good conversations!


18:00-20:00 – Monday 2nd October – Wien
TU Wien, Hörsaal AE U1 – 1, Wien (Map)
Event type: formal | Live stream: yes | Language: German | Signup: if you wish
The reason for my trip to Wien is to attend the World Passenger Festival that starts in the evening of 3rd October. But on 2nd October I will organise a discussion event about #CrossBorderRail, drawing on the experience in Vienna as the city with among the best international rail connections of the whole of Europe. Speakers are Markus Lagler and Dr Takeru Shibayama from TU Wien, and Sabine Radl from Europäische Bewegung Österreich. Austria is probably the country in Europe that is developing its international rail connections the most intensively, but even there some further progress is needed at some borders! Come along and join the discussion!


18:00-20:00 – Thursday 5th October – Bratislava
Goethe-Institut Bratislava, Panenská 33, 814 82 Bratislava, Slovakia (Map)
Event type: formal | Live stream: yes | Language: English | Signup: yes please
I did not manage to organise an event in Bratislava in 2022 due to last minute timetable changes in Poland. So this year I am putting it right! Railways in Slovakia have markedly improved in recent years, but the network remains slow and connections between major cities sometimes complicated. And cross border services – especially to Poland – remain poor. So come along to the Goethe-Institut on 5th October and discuss these topics and more!